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Structural Validity of the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales-21 Adapted for U.S. Undergraduates


Effective self-report screening tools for emerging adults are understudied. The present study examined the latent structure of the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales (DASS-21) with U.S. undergraduates. Data were collected from 1,413 undergraduates surveyed online. Three models were tested: (a) a one-factor model, (b) the original correlated three-factor model, and (c) a bifactor model that included a general negative affectivity factor and three specific factors of depression, anxiety, and stress. The bifactor model with three specific orthogonal factors yielded the best fit. All items loaded onto the general negative affectivity factor. This study provides an important evaluation of alternative models of the latent structure of the DASS among U.S. undergraduates, with results supporting it as an assessment of general distress for emerging adults.

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